Our Staff

Administration

Irma G. Cruz, MBA, is Executive Director at the Claret Center. Irma holds a BA from Northeastern Illinois University and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. As the Chief Executive Officer, Irma reports directly to the Board of Directors and is responsible for Claret Center’s consistent achievement of its mission. More about Irma

 

 

Alma Valenzuela, BS, is Claret Center’s accounting manager. She holds a BS in Accounting from Loyola University. Alma is bilingual, with proficiency in both English and Spanish. More about Alma

Jessica Rios holds a BA in Graphic Arts from Robert Morris. Her professional experience also includes work as a receptionist, translator, and sales rep, placing her at the crossroads between people and the technologies that serve them. More about Jessica

Body-Centered Therapists

Kenji Aoki, L.Ac, Dipl ChH, DiplAcupuncture (NCCAOM), is a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbologist. He studied at the University of Chicago and has been trained in the New Meridian Therapy technique developed by Tetsuji Kondo. He studied Zen teachings under the late Professor Masao Abe. More about Kenji
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Mary Holmquist CST, is a graduate of the New School for Massage, Bodywork, and Healing and is a certified presenter of Centering Prayer. She is a skilled practitioner of craniosacral therapy. More about Mary
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Patricia A. Walton, LMT, is a nationally certified and licensed Massage Therapist and an active member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has a B.A. from Columbia College, Chicago, IL. She studied at the Chicago School of Massage Therapy. More about Patricia

Psychotherapists

James Bruce, Jr., Ph.D. received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology.More about James
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John Neafsey, PsyD, earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from Rutgers University. John has strong interests in psychoanalysis, depth psychology, spirituality, social justice, and human rights. More about John
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Teresa Pasquale Mateus, LCSW, received her masters in Clinical Social Work at New York University, is a registered yoga teacher, and she graduated the Living School at the Center for Action and Contemplation in 2015. She teaches meditation and contemplative prayer and integrates mind, body and spirit practices, as well as creative and expressive arts, into her clinical work. More about Teresa

 

Allan Schnarr, MDiv, PhD, is a practicing psychotherapist and retreat facilitator and has been the director of Claret Center’s psychotherapy practicum since 1985. More about Allan
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Yehuda Smolarcik, PsyD, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist has worked with children, adolescents and adults in various capacities and settings for over 10 years. He was awarded both his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University (Chicago). More about Yehuda
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Psychotherapy Residents

*graduate work completed; supervised hours for licensing

 

Nancy Kennedy, RN, BSN, MAPC is a graduate of the Master of Arts Pastoral Counseling program at Loyola University Chicago, Institute of Pastoral Studies. She is continuing on at Claret Center as a counseling resident and serves as parish counselor at St. Francis Xavier Parish in LaGrange, Illinois. More about Nancy

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Bill Harrison, MA, LPC received his graduate training at Northeastern Illinois University and began working with Claret’s Parish Counseling Program in 2014. Bill’s work as a psychotherapist is grounded in his 40 years of experience as a performing artist and teacher. More about Bill

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Sarah Thompson, M.B.A., M.A., LPC. Sarah is a graduate of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology where she obtained her Masters in Counseling Psychology. She enjoys working with individuals as well as counseling couples. More about Sarah

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Olga Kilstein, AMFT, is a Marriage and Family therapist and a Positive Discipline workshop facilitator. She is a graduate of the Adler School of Professional Psychology. More about Olga

Psychotherapy Interns

*completing graduate work toward psychotherapy degree

Rev. Brad Fahlman, BA, MDiv is a diocesan priest from the Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of Regina, Master of Divinity from St. Joseph Seminary/Newman Theological College in Edmonton, Alberta and is presently entering the 3rd year of the MA program in Pastoral Counselling at Loyola University in Chicago. He is currently on study leave from his archdiocese and presently serving as counseling intern at Old St. Mary’s Parish in Chicago.
More about Rev. Brad Fahlman

Desiree Misanko, MA. When we experience life stressors, emotional upheaval, discontent in their life path, or trauma, it is normal for us to feel confused, distressed or that our lives are unraveling. My passion as a counselor is in helping with healing through a collaborative working alliance. A process that offers support towards finding, and strengthening a healthy perception of self, and increasing feelings of peacefulness, wholeness, and safety in one’s life, while accomplishing the therapeutic goals.
More about Desiree

Cat McCormick, BA, PRSC holds a BA in Psychology, from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Her professional experiences include working in Long Term Care for over 15 years as a Social Service Director and a Memory Care Unit Director. She also holds certifications as an Alzheimer’s-Dementia Trainer, a CMS Medicare/Medicaid trainer in Elder Abuse, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, and Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional. She also served time as a Volunteer Ombudsman in Oklahoma.
More about Cat

Certified Spiritual Directors

Helen Cahill, OP, MA, DMin, earned both her MTS and DMin from Catholic Theological Union. Helen’s ministry includes workshop and retreat facilitation as well as group supervision for religious community formators.
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Carol Dwyer, SSND MA, CADC,is a member of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and is a certified Addictions Counselor for the state of Illinois. She earned her MA in Pastoral Ministry from Fairfield University in Connecticut. Carol is fluent in Spanish and looks forward to the possibility of being able to use it in her ministry of Spiritual Direction here at Claret. More about Carol.

Pauline La Mothe, OP, MEd, DMin, received her MEd and her CAGS in Psychology from Boston College and her DMin in Pastoral Counseling from Louisville Seminary. She does Spiritual Direction and facilitates formation communities and other groups. She has worked extensively with homeless populations and with congregational leadership.
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Susan Pannier-Cass, BSW, is a Spiritual Director, certified Yoga and Meditation teacher, and Interfaith Minister, She holds a BSW from Loyola University. She works with individuals and small groups, and offers workshops to help foster greater awareness, growth and fulfillment in life. More about Susan.

Beth Saner, FSPA, earned her MA in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union. She is a Spiritual Director and co-facilitator of the Claret Center Spiritual Direction Internship. More about Beth
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Ron Stua, CMF, MDiv, is a graduate of Catholic Theological Union who has worked in parish and campus ministry in the United States, Zambia, and Cameroon. He co-facilitates the Claret Center Spiritual Direction Internship. More about Ron
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